North Texas Daily

Campus art path shows scenic side of campus

Campus art path shows scenic side of campus

June 15
12:14 2012

Ashley Grant / Senior Staff Writer

A white dump truck with orange rust stains marking its age remains permanently parked next to a small pond outside the Art Building’s doors. Tall yellow sunflowers and other plants sprout from the makeshift garden falling out of the back of the truck, a piece of art that has ingrained itself into UNT’s campus as much as any building or sidewalk.

The installation, created by Bulgarian-born artist Daniel Bozhkov, is one of more than 80 works scattered throughout campus for “Art in Public Places,” the university’s collection of public art.

“Through the lens of art, you get to know the campus,” said Victoria DeCuir, registrar for Art in Public Places. “They [the art] help tell the story of UNT.”

George W. Lundeen’s 1989 Joy of Music made of cast bronze can be found at the southwest corner of Mozart Square. Photo by Amber Plumley

Art in Public Places at UNT has its very own self-guided walking tour, Art Path, open to students or anyone curious about the history of the campus. The tour highlights 36 artworks and offers a brief description of how each of the pieces came to call UNT home.

DeCuir said each and every piece of art in the collection has its own story to tell, some more convoluted than others, such as “The Student” sculpture in Chilton Hall.

“It was originally placed in the men’s dormitory and disappeared for a number of years. While the building was being renovated it was found buried underground,” DeCuir said.

The university eventually restored the broken and battered sculpture, although it’s not the eight-foot giant it once was.

The Art Path began in 2009 under former UNT President Gretchen Bataille, who wanted to capitalize on the art already on campus and acquire new additions, said Tracee Robertson, director of the program.
Shortly after its inception, Bataille implemented the “Percent for Art Policy” to acquire new works for buildings scheduled for construction or renovation, Robertson said.

“It states that for any new construction or renovation project above a certain dollar amount, one percent of the funds is to be set aside for the commission or purchase, as well as maintenance of artwork for that location,” she said.

When renovation or construction projects first get underway, the Art in Public Places committee begins talks with the people who live or work in those locations about what should be placed in the public areas of the buildings.

“We communicate with the people at Sage Hall, for example, which is undergoing major renovations, about how the artwork is going to function in that building and how it’s going to serve UNT students and the community,” DeCuir said. “We then liaise with artists and artist professionals to look at a list of artists who are interested in submitting either project proposals or finished artworks.”

DeCuir said in the future, the Art in Public Places committee hopes to do more extensive research on the artworks and create a large catalog that the general public can access.

Robertson, who is also a UNT alumna, said she had personally learned a lot about the history of the university through the public art displayed on campus. She said people on campus and in the Denton community could stand to learn from the public art, too.

“It provides more than just aesthetics,” she said. “It creates a sense of belonging.”

Brochures and maps are available at the Dean’s Office in the College of Visual Arts and Design as well as in the Union.

Those seeking a more structured route, or more information about the works, can request a docent to accompany the tour, a guide who is capable of dishing out information that can’t be found in the confining spaces of the Art Path’s brochure.

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